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Classic Polo targets Rs 85 crore and 100 outlets

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Tirupur-based Royal Classic Group (RCG) is expecting to clock in a turnover of Rs 85 crore from its Classic Polo brand, with 100 EBOs operational in the current fiscal. The company also plans to open 300 stores across the country by 2008-end. RCG, an exporter-turned-retailer, expects to arrive at a group turnover of Rs 300 crore in this fiscal.

Speaking to Indiaretailing, MS Vasant, head of retail, Classic Polo, shared: “We had set a target of Rs 85 crore turnover and 100 Classic Polo outlets in the current fiscal. Classic Polo also plans to have 300 stores operational across the country by 2008-end. Although the priority for now is the South, the brand will also open stores in western, eastern and northern Indian markets in the second phase. Classic Polo is also likely to open its first store in Singapore by the end of this fiscal. We are in the process of moulding ourselves for foreign markets.”

Classic Polo, unlike many other brands, followed a snail walk in establishing EBOs across the country. It seems the company has now re-set the earlier strategy of establishing outlets one by one. Its current count of stores is 52, a majority of which are in the South.

When questioned about the changed strategy of retail expansion, Vasant informed: “We are not in a hurry to open 100 stores in a day. It is our responsibility to see whether each store takes care of its own cost and operates in profit. There is no point in having an image if you are not doing great business. Through this short span of time, we were successful in making the brand visible across the country. People are no longer calling it a t-shirt brand. The second phase of retail expansion will happen at a much more rapid pace. Classic Polo will soon have shops across the country.”

Last year, the turnover of Classic Polo stood at Rs 42 crore. The company claims to have crossed last year’s turnover in the first six months of operation this fiscal.

Classic Polo, which started opening EBOs in 2004, claims to do a sale of Rs 10,000 per store on an average per day, which makes it comfortable in terms of revenue. The brand is also retailed through over 1,700 MBOs across the country, rendering it more visible.

Primarily into making t-shirts, RCG has also forayed into denimwear and other men’s apparel and accessories to strike it big even in the face of easily available global names. Classic Polo, the brand with an exclusive menswear tag, plans to introduce branded kurtas, pyjamas and khadi shirts as a sub-brand by February 2008.

“We see a vacuum in the branded ethnicwear category. The big department stores and large-format stores seem to have started moving towards this trend. We have a customer database of 22,000 (who are our cardholders), and this extension is being done only on their request – as a tribute to them. Classic Polo is celebrating its 8th anniversary on February 8, so we want to have the ethnicwear launch coincide with that,” Vasant announced. He declined, however, to reveal the name of the sub-brand.

During the last fiscal, Classic Polo’s advertising spends stood at Rs 2.5 crore. This year the company plans to spend Rs 3 crore on advertisement – comparatively a lesser figure than the ones of many of its competitors.

RCG forayed into the domestic retail business with the launch of a t-shirt brand titled Classic Polo in 2001. Later, the company introduced sub-brands like Swiss Club (formal shirts), Smash (innerwear for men), and Zero-Press (casual trousers) under Classic Polo.

– Vishnu Rageev R, Bengaluru Bureau

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